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Hamas Of. Accepts Israel, But Short Of Recognition

Published: Fri 12 Jan 2007 10:59 AM
Hamas Official Accepts Israel But Stops Short Of Recognition
Middle East News Service
[ Middle East News Service comments. With so much attention being focussed on the Middle East it is still possible for a major story to slip under the radar. Sure there’s Bush’s (predictable) speech but the trouble is that we have become so used to certain expectations that we mentally fit in the reality to our previous perception not recognising the change. So the news is that the external (and said to be more hardline) Hamas leadership has changes it’s position on accepting Israel’s existence. All the attempts of “corrections of misunderstandings” have only made it clearer. There has been (a welcome to my mind) change to the Hamas position. As the Guardian’s Conal Urquhart tells it: “’Mr Meshal softened his anti-Israel rhetoric, suggesting that Hamas does not seek the destruction of Israel as written in its charter. He said that Israel is a "reality" and "there will remain a state called Israel - this is a matter of fact". He added: "The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel. The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent”.’
For a better perspective include below is Urquhart’s account as well as analysis by Zvi Bar’el of Haaretz. I tend to agree with Bar’el’s comments but even if you don’t there’s plenty in what he says that’s worth mulling about.
The one point that no one seems to comment about is a change in the terms that Hamas is using in relation to the refugee issue. [I will be happy to correct the record if I am wrong on this account.] Only Haaretz (English and Hebrew) and Ynet (ditto) included the following in their report:
“Hamas wants a Palestinian state that includes Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes lost in the 1967 war and before, Meshal said.” (emphasis added)
One of the few points that are not in dispute by anyone is that more Palestinians lost their homes and became refugees in 1947-49 than in 1967. Furthermore those who were driven from their homes in 1967 were all driven from areas beyond the Green Line. So if a sovereign Palestinian state were to be founded it will have total jurisdiction over the issue anyhow. To refer to the 1948 refugees as those before 1967 cannot be an unconscious expression. Hamas is looking for a new formulation. One can speculate as to why but it does fit in with the framework outlined by Bar’el – Sol Salbe.]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1987622,00.html
Hamas official accepts Israel but stops short of recognition
Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Thursday January 11, 2007
The Guardian
Hamas accepts the existence of the state of Israel but will not officially recognise it until the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, according to the Hamas leader in Damascus, Khaled Meshal.
In comments to Reuters, Mr Meshal softened his anti-Israel rhetoric, suggesting that Hamas does not seek the destruction of Israel as written in its charter. He said that Israel is a "reality" and "there will remain a state called Israel - this is a matter of fact". He added: "The problem is not that there is an entity called Israel. The problem is that the Palestinian state is non-existent."
Israel and the international community have demanded that Hamas recognise Israel as a prerequisite to receiving tax revenues and international funding. Hamas's refusal has led to Palestinian Authority employees receiving little or no wages for almost a year and has severely depressed the Palestinian economy.
SEE FULL STORY…
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1987622,00.html
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http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/812122.html
Hamas and Israel / Road map to recognition
By Zvi Bar'el
Khaled Meshal's declaration outlines a Hamas road map toward recognition of Israel. According to this outline, Meshal recognizes that the State of Israel is a "fact," but this "fact" still requires formal recognition. It is not clear what this entails.
In practice, Meshal is trying to create an equation in which sovereign states recognize one another; but, for this to occur, we must first wait for the establishment of the Palestinian state, so that a similar legal entity can recognize its neighboring state - Israel.
This is a fundamental shift in Hamas' position. In the past, Meshal made it clear that there was no point in accepting earlier agreements with Israel, which included recognition of Israel, so long as it did not fully implement them. By this he hinted that the issue of recognition was not ideological but political. However, yesterday's statement is his most direct reference to this issue.
This statement joins earlier ones by Meshal and others in the Hamas leadership, who said that they accepted the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital. Nonetheless, Meshal's framework may raise another fundamental issue: If only a sovereign Palestinian State can recognize Israel, this undermines the basis of recognition that was established in the Oslo Accords.
SEE FULL STORY…
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/812122.html
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[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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